Straight Eye for the Straight Guy

It's a two-for-one deal in this week's Time Out New York. Both my recent articles wound up coming out the same week. I love it when that happens.

Bite My Style

Since it is the "Fall Fashion" issue, I trailed a guy looking to get fashion advice from his better-dressed buddy: "The entire day, Gary is on the hunt for some nice-fitting corduroys because, he says, 'cords are so fall.' He finally finds some at Urban Outfitters and pairs them with a red-plaid shirt and a tweed blazer. 'This is by far the most comfortable outfit,' says Shawn. 'I could fall asleep in this.'”

You Asked For It: Community Gardens

A primer about how to get started with community gardens: "Did you kill your last spider plant, but somehow still think you’ve got what it takes to be a gardener? That’s cute. You might want to check out the Riverside-Inwood Neighborhood Garden, where prior experience—or even interest—in gardening certainly is not necessary. 'I’m not into gardening at all,' says member Elizabeth Popiel. 'I just love the garden.' At this casual no-individual-plots, no-veggies spot, people do what comes naturally to them: paint, hold art fairs, build benches, and even install a koi pond (for a $10 annual fee)."

Fall Arts!

As promised, the September issue came in today with my big, fat Fall Arts Preview eating up some of the feature well (15 pages, plus more after the jump). This is my favorite kind of package: the kind where I get to tell people what to do with their free time, like see Andrew Bird or Burn After Reading.

The Fall Arts Preview package has many components, including:

Fall Events

Everything from the county-wide clay arts exhibitions to Dar Williams' concert: "This fall, almost every local art institution is going to have one thing on its mind: clay. Sure, you played with it when you were a kid and giggle when you think of the pot-throwing scene from Ghost (all that wasted clay!) but when was the last time you really gave clay any thought as a medium?"

Fall Movies

From Burn After Reading to Benjamin Button: "We’ve seen lots of disasters in films: earthquakes, volcanoes, diseases, The Happening. But what about an epidemic of blindness? Fernando Meirelles’ film, based on the 1995 novel by the Nobel Prize-winning José Saramago, imagines just that, with Julianne Moore starring as the one woman in town with immunity. Blindness was chosen to open this year’s Cannes Film Festival—but left with mixed reception (September 26)."

Fall TV

What's coming up on the networks: "You know that old sitcom formula in which two seemingly incompatible personalities are forced to live together? My Own Worst Enemy ups the ante by having those two personalities share a body. Taking a page from Fight Club’s book, one man is torn between his two identities: one is a suburban father, the other an operative trained to kill (10:00, NBC)."

...and Fall Books, which I didn't write but I assigned. And that's all in addition to my normal arts-related pages and front-of-book matter:

Mysterious Master

A short item about a church that found a master painting hiding in plain sight: “'When he started to work on the painting, parts that looked like they should be gold started to turn into silver,' Monsignor Corrigan says. 'That made me very nervous. I said a prayer. But when I saw it restored, it was totally spectacular.'"

Home Theater

September DVDs, including The Godfather, The Great Pumpkin, and The Fall: "Even though Halloween isn’t for another month, we all have days—no matter what time of year it is—when we can relate to poor little Linus, waiting for the Great Pumpkin that may never arrive."

Arts & Entertainment

Paula Cole, Mavis Staples, and more.

In addition to the Fall Arts Preview, this month was our "Sex Issue." Though I didn't write anything for it, I did assign this piece about the 12 things a sex writer has learned throughout her career and this piece about where to find love in the county.

July Issue

Best of Westchester: Art & Leisure

Our most popular feature of the year surveys the best the county has to offer, including new hiking trails: "Let’s face it: it was easy to get lost at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, and not in a good lose-yourself-in-nature kind of way. Yet a core group of volunteers has taken it upon themselves to re-blaze all 35 miles of trails, complete with new markings and a beautiful map (one that actually makes sense)."

Fave Five By the Fab Four

Always one for a nerdy list, I asked a local Beatlemaniac and radio DJ to rank his favorite Beatles albums: "Leave it to a true music fan to treat ranking two great albums like deciding between children."

Close Encounters in the County

In honor of World UFO Day (it's real), I dug up some reports of UFOs in Westchester: "It was the brightest thing I’ve ever seen in the sky ever…I do know that it was in the area of a power plant."

Resident Ringtones

I corralled the musically inclined and asked them what their ringtones are (and plugged my own). Says Kimberly Locke: "I have the theme from The Jeffersons, 'Movin’ On Up,' as my ringtone. It’s pretty uplifting and it makes me laugh every time my phone rings. But it’s only programmed for specific friends. Only they receive the high honor of a George and Weezy ring tone!"

Alfresco Entertainment

Now no one can say that I recommend staying inside watching movies all day, since I recommended eight outdoor events: "Long for the days of drive-in theaters? Well, you can’t sit in your gas-guzzler, but you can still park yourself outside (sans auto) and watch a film at one of the county’s outdoor movie screenings."

Culture, Etc.

Lyle Lovett, Ani DiFranco, and more.

Time Out!

I was so pleased to see my article in Time Out New York, not just because I love to see my own name in print (which I do), but because I think the illustrations are awesome. The article is about "letterboxing," a secretive hobby that few people know about.

Map #011 Letterboxing

"One Upper East Sider who goes by the trail name SnapZ says, 'I had a box hidden in a hollow log in Riverside Park. One day, I found a flashlight and scissors there. Drug dealer? Homeless person? I never found out.'"

April Issue

The redesign of our magazine went live in April, and it couldn't look better. I placed these articles in the fresh-looking issue:

Oh What a Web We Need
A short list of our staff's we'd-die-without websites: "Who says that traditional media is afraid of the Web? Here at the magazine, we couldn’t live without the Internet (for work—honest)." (It's the fifth item down.)

Culture, Etc.
The B-52s, Ira Glass, Josh Ritter, and more.

In addition to writing the articles above, I assigned these meaty pieces:

X Saves Westchester
Our Subprime Crisis
Culture Shock

...And one last item of business:

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Vol. 5

In the midst of preparing the April issue, one PopMatters review wormed its way onto the site, too: "If you’ve watched Aqua Teen Hunger Force or the show’s first feature film, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, you know that everything about the show defies logic. Especially the film which, for a full-length film based on an 11-minute, late-night cartoon about talking food, managed to be released in 877 theaters its opening weekend. And that’s after a viral marketing campaign for the movie caused Boston officials to call the bomb squad."

Much more in May!

February Issue

Mmmmm...all about food.

Parti Mardi

How to throw a real Mardi Gras party: "Looking to celebrate without buying a ticket to Nawlins? Consult our no-fuss, do-it-yourself guide to all the beads, booze, and beignets you’ll need. Just try to keep your shirt on."

Book Group

Advice for mid-winter reading: "From Russell Banks, the writer who previously brought us such memorable downers as Affliction and The Sweet Hereafter, comes a tale about life in the Adirondacks during—how fitting—the Great Depression." (It's the fourth item.)

Great Places, New Faces

A round-up of new players in the local culture scene, including local maestro Itzhak Perlman. (It's the ninth item.)

Arts & Entertainment

Flamenco dancing, Eaglefest, and more.

December Issue

It'll take the whole holiday weekend to get through this issue.

Loves Music, Loves the Bronx

A spotlight on local WFUV DJ Darren DeVivo: "DeVivo’s love of music, especially of that famous Liverpudlian quartet, began so early that his mom wrote down 'Favorite Music Group: The Beatles' in his baby book when he was still an infant."

Ballroom Blitz

Getting in on the ballroom dancing craze: "So you’ve watched actors and amateurs waltz their way to stardom on reality shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance—and it looked fun, didn’t it? Well, you’re in luck. There is a slew of local studios willing to teach you the steps, the twirls, the dips, and the kicks of these famous cheek-to-cheek dances."

Yankee Ingenuity

Why "Yankee Swaps" are better than other gift-giving gimmicks: "You don’t have to pick out a present for a specific person, so there’s no dread that you’d be stuck with figuring out what to get a man who doesn’t golf (my perennial present dilemma. And there’s something sadistically pleasurable about ripping a great gift out of the clutches of someone you know really, really wants it. Now, that’s the Christmas spirit!"

A Kinder, Gentler Phantom

My review of a local production of the Kopit/Yeston Phantom: "Kopit and Yeston actually started work on their musical version of the Leroux novel before Andrew Lloyd Webber but, when he beat them to the stage in London, their version, like the Phantom himself, fell hidden into obscurity. It was later revived by the 'Theatre Under the Stars' in Texas, and has found great success in regional theater ever since; in 1992, when the Westchester Broadway Theatre first staged the musical, it ran for almost a year (the longest-running show in WBT history) and attracted 120,000 audience members who wanted to see the Phantom story told by someone who wasn’t responsible for Cats."

Arts & Entertainment

Aimee Mann, Symphony Space, and More